4 September 2012

Hello Spring September! {Gifts 634-644 and a givewaway!}

September here in the Southern Hemishpere heralds the Spring time!
And with that came a spring storm that knoocked out our power, downed a powerline, set our powerboard on fire and fried some of our appliances! Looking forward to the sunshine that is on it's way and noticing the beauty of it all along the way.

Spring leads us gently toward summer

Helps us shake off all that winter lumber

Frost-locked all the winter

The willows by the river

Shake out their powdery tendrils

Arduous cold gives way to warm ease

That last of the Violas pied

Spring yellow blooms and blossoms

Tips of tender green shoot forth

Apple blossoms bud in baby pink

And in the sunny fields

The dandelions shine.

Purple blue blossoms turn their heads

toward warm golden sun

The dry dead grass turns pea green

The wild flowers flourish

Cornflower blue and dainty white

Nodding their heads in the breeze

The rooster; the farmers' timepiece

And the hens, scratch between iris and daffodil

Pose like weathervanes mid garden

Paddocks of buttercups

watch the cow and her calf graze

Spring buds dance like the fresh new lambs

There is no time like Spring,

When life's alive in everything

Spring the time in which we rise

Breaking away from winter's ties

To dance again in the summer sun

Come spring, some!

Thanking God for all these blessings:

#634 Friends with a spare washing machine ~ phew!
#635 Same kind friends with a spare breadmaker!
#636 A friendly neighbor
#637 Sunny nearly spring days
#638 Warm sunshine
#639 Fresh homemade bread
# 640 Best friend's visit
#641 money the bank
#642 An afternoon nap
#643 church community
#644 knitting scarves

To hearld in the coming season of Spring, An honored and Beautiful Life is gving away this beautiful cornflower and mauve frilly scarf.

HOW TO ENTER September’s Spring GIVEAWAY:

Leave your anwser, to the question below, in the comments box ~

"What is your favorite thing about Spring and why?"

A winner will be randomly selected and I will post the winner's name via this blogpost at the end of the month☺

The Life of My Bed

I cringe when I remember our first marriage bed. A burgundy, velour-covered waterbed that hubby adored as a bachelor. Which was ok until I began to swell with first child. Then I resembled one of those sad, beached whales on the seashore.

Unable to move without help.

He LOVES waterbeds. I just wanted something I wouldn't drown in.

For four children, I endured. (Hopeless beds  for breastfeeding said babes too I might add....But I digress)

Hubby loved it. It held him. It warmed him. It comforted him.

Me? Meh. It trapped me. Sweated me. Frustrated me.

He felt the cold. I felt the heat. The waterbed temp was great for him. For me? Not so much.

Somewhere along the way for a reason I don't remember, the waterbed was replaced. Reaching back into the far recesses of my mind - I would say it was a case of replace the (leaking?) waterbed bladder or replace the whole bed. Hubby would say I got rid of it 'cause I hated it. But his memory is not as good as mine ☺

For 12 years now we have had our queen sized Rimu (native NZ wood) slat bed.

It was custom made and supposed to arrive in time for me to swell with my forth child in comfort - at least when trying to sleep. It didn't.

It arrived weeks after he was born - along with a bottle of perfume from the carpenter, in the hopes of mollifying me. It didn't.

It has shared our good times. It remembers our triumphs. Our ups. Our closeness. It has been a place of sweet slumber.

It has shared our bad times. It remembers the arguments I wish had never taken place. Our down times. Our chasms. It has been a place of hard nights.
I wake, eyes closed still and I know hubby is there beside me. Just like he has been for the last 17 years.  I smell his faint familiar scent.
I smile, eyes open now, knowing he is there always eager to receive me, as he was when more new limbs were created, then nourished.
I fluff up pillows, fold up the multitude of extra blankets on his side, pile up the un-neccessary, but lovely, husband-annoying cushions, every morning.
 He still feels the cold. I still feel the heat.
He likes practical weight. I like romantic pretty.
I come back to it some mornings to homeschool, cuddled up in warm blankets and comfort, on cold or sick days.
I come back to it some afternoons to spend my quiet times with God, with my blog and with chocolate.
I come back to it to pray, to cry, to read, to knit, to nap.
To-do lists, book lists, grocery lists, dream lists - they all happen here too, in early morning or darkest of night.
It's here our little and not-so-little people sneak in, to co-sleep. Boo boos are kissed better here, deep and meaningfuls with teens happen here. And it is here, where the best tickle fights happen. 
 It is where we watch, just outside our window, the sun touch green, the teens out feeding stock early morning, young ones swinging with glee on the rope swing on sunny afternoons..
It is where I plan to spend a great many more days, learning, loving, sleeping...

*Writing prompt from Amber

2 September 2012

How To Get Clean

It wasn't until the end of the field trip that it dawned on me.

 It was after we had headed up to the top of the water treatment plant and surveyed the river from which the towns folk get their water supply.

And it was after we had walked through the plant watching the dirt and impurities being removed from the water (with chemicals).

After we had watched it pass by us with carbon added.

After it had soaked and seeped it's way thorugh the sand beds that removed any lingering nasties.

And after the lime had been added to balance the PH and clear, clean water bubbled up beneath our feet in an underground holding tank. Like a gigantic swimming pool beneath our feet, the guide told us.

It was just after we were told that the last step was to add fluouride and then it was on it's way out the pipes into the community.

It was when he held up the clear cone shaped vessel that is dawned on me....this is just what CHRIST did for US. Made US clean.

This is not a new revelation to me. . I mean, I know God has made me clean. But the anelogy to me was new.

This is the work Christ does in us.

Water taken from a sludgy, dirty, unclean river and through a process is made clean: spotless, purified, acceptable, worthwhile.

Just as when we too lean into Christ we are made clean: spotless, purified, acceptable and worthy.

All our dirt is washed away.

Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Psalm 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 52:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and the cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What can wash away our sins?  
Mat 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus is all about redeeming, cleansing, making clean, refining.

John 15:1-27 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ...

Isa 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Zechariah 13:9 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Refining Silver
Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures, and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One lady's opinion was that is was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject.
She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her. "But Sir" she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" "Oh, yes, madam," replied the silversmith; "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way that he knows when the process of purifying is complete when he sees his own image reflected in the silver....
--Author Unknown
It's a new beginning this being made clean. A journey toward being Christ-like.

May drawing near to God be a thrill that fills you with peace and joy!

29 August 2012

Sponge Jam Tart Recipe

Saturday dawns and we're headed to the local community market this fine sunny morning. We're taking a pen load of piglets and our truck. This may be the first and last time, I journey into this....community. Born and bred here, most of them. I've heard their a clicky bunch. I cringe.

I put loads of washing through and I make beds, I wash dishes and straighten towels. I make soup for lunch and get dinner ready.

And I bake jam tarts. They're effortless.

Because some days anxiety just threatens to engulf me. Sometimes it comes down to just putting one foot in front of the other. It comes down to refusing (again) to listen to lies that accuse and condemn. They wont like you, you're not good enough, you wont fit in. Those that dont like you will turn others against you.

The answer to anxiety is always found in truth. I am loved, I am forgiven, I am saved. I am a child of God. A Jesus girl. I am good enough. And then you just need to do the next thing.

And realise - I can be just just me. I don't have to be someone I am not.

And for that I am thankful. Ever so thankful.

Giving thanks this week (627~633) for:

Snapfish - wonderful Father's Day gift ideas (father's day is this coming Saturday here in NZ!)

A great homeschool trip! (More on that next time perhaps?)

Piglets sold

Community market spirit

Tarts baked

Homemade soup and bread

Afterhours trademen

Psalm 150:6 "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."

Sponge Jam Tarts


1 sheet sweet short crust pastry, thawed
50g Butter
50g Caster Sugar
1 egg
½ cup Flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp vanilla essence
Jam (or lemon curd or custard!)


Preheat oven to 180oC. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.
Dust your bench with flour and roll out the pastry, cut into 12 circles and fit into the muffin tin.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and combine.
Sieve in the flour and baking powder then add the vanilla essence. Mix well.
Dollop a little jam into the bottom of each tart case, then top with a teaspoon of sponge mixture.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.

20 August 2012

God's Winter Beauty

Icy fingers and naked ancient oaks
Cold bones and stiff winter winds
Everything withered and quiet
A hibernating shade of rich brown

Winter hills of white with slivery gleam
Cloud shrouded hilltops
Sparkling dew covers the earth
Steam swirls upward where sun touches

Refreshing crispness on fine bright days
More often days of steady rain
Heaviness fills the air
The blue sky painted gray

Frost upon the window panes
Beyond, warm moist air flows over cold river
Thick gray fog drapes like a blanket
Creating a misty soup

All seems lost to the cold decay
Winter's sun, aspiring hope after struggle
The hugging warmth on numb limbs
Winter shall release its icy reign

More #1000 gifts this week:

614 ~ productive school days
615 ~Sunshine after rain
616 ~Sozo Ministry
617 ~Beautiful big bare Oak trees
618 ~An unexpected gift from a friend
619 ~A ledger that balances
620 ~Moving furniture around
621 ~A relaxing sunday
622 ~Truth and honesty
623 ~A heads up regarding neighborhood changes
624 ~God's winter glory
625 ~pain relief for a sore back
626 ~the first signs that spring is around the corner!

17 August 2012

WHAT to pray? (for lives lost at Paritutu Rock)

Sometimes I just don't know WHAT to pray....

Family of ours, down country from us, lost their foreign exchange student in a needless accident, early afternoon on Wednesday, a week ago.

He and another student fell from Paritutu Rock and haven't been seen since. Neither has the instructor who dived in to save them.

Police are now treating the operation as a body recovery mission.

The families and the entire town are reeling in shock, over the loss of these dear ones. And a community in Brazil - the home country of one of the missing, has been rocked by the news.

And I was angry. Yes, very angry at first. 'Why?' I had asked, along with countless others.. 'Why did this happen?' 'How could parents, teachers, professionals let.this.happen?' It seems so senseless ... tragic... needless.

And we are removed from the worst of the pain, not having met these people in person. We've just spent the week going about our lives, while indirectly experiencing the grief we know our family and so many in the town, are feeling.

The anger subsides. And I contemplate...

I realise I feel somewhat guilty in a sense. While their worlds have crumbled to an abrupt halt, the rest of the country – nay...the rest of the world - carries on. Marching forward.

They are going through something most of us parents can not comprehend going through - is that what we should pray....That eventually they will make it out the other side, whole again?

Or do we pray for their men to return? And if they don't? Does that mean out prayers have been unheard?

Do I pray for the grief to be short lived? Or for the process of healing to somehow result in unexpected good and restoration?

Maybe I should pray for the other children who witnessed the ordeal? Or for protection for my children, for the missing ones' siblings, for my sister-in-law’s children, for my best friend's children...that they may never encounter the same fate?

It will never make sense why these men have been lost so young. The question can either taunt us or it can bring us closer to God.

We must trust His will for their lives and our lives. We have to trust that God’s plan for their lives was enough.

And we must pray Phil 4:8. We must focus on WHATEVER IS:

Remember the wonderful memoirs and the impressions these beautiful people have had in the numerous lives of those around them. Remember the truths they shared. The noble things they have done. The way they stood up for what was right. The pureness of their hearts. The loveliness about them. The admirable qualities in their lives. Pray and think on the excellent and praiseworthy things that made them who they were.

We think a long, vigorous life is the ideal life - but well-being and longevity are not necessary...for a life of love.  Is a life more because it’s long, less because it’s short? For reasons only God can measure, this was their time to depart the unjust world we live in and go on ahead to the days of no more suffering.

We need to trust in the Lord and let our love of the Lord be demonstrated. We need to live our lives in every way to glorify our God.

So I will pray that Our Lord's Will be done. And I will give thanks for the beautiful things these people have shared into the lives of others.

For after all is said and done, HE is in control and he doesn't need us telling him how to take care of things.

AND I give thanks for every day I have, with the people I love, because life is clearly a very fragile thing...

Photos: Our local beach...beautiful but dangerous too